Saturday, 1 March 2014

another orbit - another anniversary

While my life is about me, its important to realise that its not just about me.
While we are all "unique" its important to see that we are often alike, and feel like others have felt.

This post is a short essay to attempt to explain that from a specific perspective.

Once upon a time everyone knew that we measured time by things celestial, the motion of the sun, the moon or the stars in the sky. Somehow we just look at calendars now, which takes much of the significance and knowledge out if it.

As it happens I also believe that life is a series of cycles. Some are yearly and some are when you simply find yourself back in a similar place, after some years worth of time have gone under the bridge.

At those times you get to look across the gap and see clearly where you were. Like a mite crawling along a bolt thread, you can catch a glimpse of where you were and what forces were defining you. If you're lucky you can even catch a glimpse the things you were thinking and understand how you have changed into who you are now (or see how you've remained unchanged as the case may be).

Some orbits ago I got married in about this position of the earth in its orbit around the sun, but last year instead of being able to enjoy another anniversary with the woman I love. Barely months after her death I was struggling with a bug that was making my life hell. That bug was left in after a surgery in November 2011 and broke out in November 2012 resulting in an operation to attempt to clear it. Before I'd even properly recovered from that I was whacked back in for another scrape and barely got home for my birthday.

So looking across the gap to the place I was on the thread of life a year ago is interesting. I have lost all sense of proportion of time. While people say the years fly past, it seems to like many years have past since it was just last year.

Since this time last year I've recovered physically from the last surgery (although I remain on antibiotics, and am unsure if further surgery awaits), wound up my job (finished, quit), come to Finland to be here for the anniversary of burying my wife (which was in August) and spent the remainder the time contemplating and attempting to heal.

Along the way I've had a few encounters with people who are also grieving. One thing which seems to bother many of those people is hearing anyone say:
I know how you feel
I don't know why it bothers them, as personally if anyone knows how I feel then I feel sorry for them. For such knowledge comes at a price.

To grievers I say that others do not know exactly what you are feeling, that is of course impossible. Pick any person out there and they may have totally no idea how you feel. Don't you wish you were back then like that too? Not knowing your pain? (I sure do).

But there is enough in literature to demonstrate that (while not the same) many have walked down the path of anguish and difficulty. Is it the same? No. But if you can read something or see something (like art) which moves you, that pulls the tears from you and stops your breath; then that means they have gone through something similar and expressed it so succinctly that you had your own emotions pulled out before you like a Samurai disemboweling himself.

There have been many songs I've heard, movies I've watched and books I've read over time. Many times something has occurred to remind me of something specific in them that has brought me to tears.

I began to wonder if somehow everything I'd read somehow prepared me to be brought to this point in time with the ability to survive it all. The first time that I thought that I started crying with the pain of the notion that this was somehow fate. I have come to realise that it is simply that the authors had felt what iI am feeling. So they knew quite an amount of how I feel even though they had never met me.

Recently I was watching Up! (with some trepedation). Carl looses his wife Ellie, and while they'd lived together a long time there were dreams they'd dreamed of doing which they never did. At a critical time in the movie Carl was flipping through Ellies scrap book of things she had dreamed of doing. He always stopped at the page of Stuff I'm Going TO DO. He'd shake his head and gently close the book.

Except at one stage late in the movie when he seemed to notice for the first time that there was something in those pages. Somehow he'd never looked at the book since they were kids together. So at a pivotal point he turned the pages over to discover something new.

Turning the page he saw that after they were married Ellie had continued to fill those pages of her scrap book, and he then sat down to discover the way that Ellie had lived her life with him. The happiness they'd had and the joy they'd shared together. The first page was their wedding photograph ...

followed by pages of pictures of the great times they'd had together.

We were so lucky Anita and I. We lived our lives doing everthing we wanted to do. We hiked together to many places in the world, worked at building our home and were growing together into a loving pair in the way that trees can sometimes grow together (joined at the roots but not strangling each other).

It breaks my heart that she is gone and that I now walk alone.

To those who are grieving too, I offer you this

Try hard not to let the pain overshadow the beauty you were together. Try to see that there is a part of that other tree still inside your living tissue. No matter where you go or what you do, keep that sacred and important.

Maybe you will be forever walking the path without such love in your life, and maybe one day you can find some love again. One thing which I'm sure of is that if you hold dearly the love you shared in your heart then that will guide you. If someone claims to love you and they can't accept the love you hold for the partner you lost, then that person is not able to love you for who you are. Which means that they are not able to love you.

I have already had the greatest love in my life, while I don't want to be alone I know from years gone by (and experiences and pains past) what happens when you give of yourself but there is no love. I know that if anyone claims to want me, but does not accept the love I have for Anita, then that can only lead to pain. I'm certain that is a worse pain than just being here without Anita.

So what I have come to see is that the love Anita had for me is protecting me still. If I respect that love it always will.

She's still providing direction for me, even if the steering is up to me.

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